ELDERLY residents at a council-owned supported living accommodation in Bournemouth were left without a working lift for two months.

During this time, those at Bethany House, most of whom suffer from mobility issues and require the use of wheelchairs or walking aids, have been forced to walk up and down flights of stairs with the help of family and friends.

A daughter of a resident at Bethany House said people at the complex had their freedom taken away, following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

The Bournemouth resident said: “My mum moved into sheltered accommodation a few months ago. We thought it would be a good idea as it would give her more security, safety and support.

“My mum is one of the lucky ones as she has a lot of family and friends around her. She will call one of us and we will have to help her out of her apartment and down the stairs.

“However, a lot of people in that housing complex do not have that.

“There have been various notes on the doors of the lift saying it will be fixed in one week, two weeks, then three weeks and so on. A lot of people have been complaining about it and have had enough, but BCP don’t seem to care.”

Many of the residents at the sheltered accommodation have spent the majority of the past 15 months in their homes as they have been shielding during the pandemic.

The 39-year-old has continued to help her 76-year-old mother up and down the stairs, sometimes three times a day, despite the fact she now has a newborn baby.

She added: “I just feel as we are coming out of lockdown, the elderly and the most vulnerable should be getting a bit more freedom as they no longer need to shelter, and they have had their vaccines. It’s taking away their freedom.

“It is affecting my mum’s mental health as well. Although she has the people around her to help, she feels like a burden asking them to help her down the stairs.

“My mother doesn’t have a wheelchair, but she may need one because she can’t walk unaided and uses a walking frame to get around, but a lot of them in Bethany House do have mobility scooters and wheelchairs so how on earth they can get outside, I do not know.”

BCP Council said delays in imports from mainland Europe were to blame for the lift not being fixed since it broke in April.

Cllr Robert Lawton, portfolio holder for homes said: “Our contractor visited to carry out an initial repair to the lift at Bethany House when the fault was first reported in April.

“After a number of visits to ascertain the fault, a decision was made in May to take the lift out of service as the lift could not be repaired without a replacement part.

“As is the case for many lift parts they are manufactured in Switzerland and have been subject to similar delays experienced on imports coming into the UK from Europe.”

The council said the part had now arrived and the lift is back in working condition. The local authority apologised for the inconvenience caused, adding that residents can speak to a member of staff employed by the council who will be at the accommodation to help with any issues.

Cllr Lawton added: “There is always a member of staff available to provide support to residents at Bethany House and we have arranged for them to be on site at specific times during the day to offer practical help such as taking shopping to flats.

“Regular routine calls are also made to our most vulnerable residents and all flats are linked to a call system if emergency assistance is required, including out of hours and weekends.

“I appreciate the difficulties that this situation has caused for residents, and I am sorry for any inconvenience caused. Every effort has been made to return the lift to reliable service in a timely manner.”